India's 2018/19 Iran oil imports up 5% despite US sanctions

Malta-flagged Iranian crude oil supertanker "Delvar" is seen anchored off Singapore March 1, 2012. Since the first round of waivers expires on May 4, Iranian oil buyers including India, Japan, and South Korea are trying to convince the USA government to get another round of exemption from US sanctions to be able to keep buying crude from Iran.

Between April and October 2018, India's refiners were buying more than usual Iranian oil because none of Iran's oil customers were certain that it would get a US sanctions waiver to continue purchases from Iran after the sanctions were re-imposed in early November 2018.

India's February imports from Iran were about 4 percent lower than January's purchases, the data showed.

Since November, when India received the sanctions waiver, only state-run Indian Oil Corp, Bharat Petroleum Corp, Hindustan Petroleum and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals have been buying Iranian oil.

India is not booking Iranian oil due to load in May, as refiners are waiting for more clarity from the USA on whether India will get its sanctions waiver extended, Reuters reported earlier this week, citing four sources.

Iran was hoping to sell more than 500,000 bpd of oil to India in 2018/19, its oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said past year, and had offered nearly free shipping and an extended credit period to boost sales to the country.

In the previous fiscal year that ended on March 31, 2018 Indian refiners cut purchases from Iran due to a dispute over the award of development rights of a giant gas field.

The sources declined to be identified as they were not authorized to speak with media. Flows to China averaged 627,710 bpd last month from levels of 571,464 bpd in February.

Refiners placed orders to buy 8 million barrels in April but India would receive higher volumes as some delayed cargoes of March arrive at Indian ports this month.

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